WOMEN
08/15/2016 11:36 am ET Updated Aug 16, 2016

The Body-Positive Message Behind This Shot Putter's Olympic Gold Medal

"The world is realizing we were promoting one body type and there have always been many.”
Michelle Carter won the gold medal in the Women's shot put on August 12.
DAMIEN MEYER via Getty Images
Michelle Carter won the gold medal in the Women's shot put on August 12.

Michelle Carter is all about wearing makeup, loving her body and, of course, winning gold medals. 

During the Olympic trials earlier this year, Carter spoke to The New Yorker about the stigma that surrounds female shot-putters, since the Track and Field competition has historically been a man’s sport. It wasn’t until 1948 that women were finally allowed to compete alongside the men in the Olympics. 

“It has been a long time. And it’s something I think a lot of girls and women shy away from because it’s not looked at as something a woman would want to do or a woman should do,” Carter told The New Yorker’s Mary Pilon.

Now, Carter said, more and more women are shattering the stereotype that women can’t be strong and feminine. 

“I think now, it’s like, ‘You know what? We’re girls and we can throw heavy balls and be in the dirt and we look good while we’re doing it,’” she said. “I think it’s bringing more attention to the sport and girls are realizing, ‘Hey, I can do this and it’s O.K. to do this as a girl.’”

Carter competes in the Women's shot put Final in Rio this past Friday, August 12.
ADRIAN DENNIS via Getty Images
Carter competes in the Women's shot put Final in Rio this past Friday, August 12.

As a professional makeup artist, Carter said she really enjoys expressing herself through makeup, but she wasn’t always so sure about wearing it on the field. 

“For a couple of years, being professional, I kind of questioned myself. Should I wear my false lashes or take the time I want to take so I can feel good when I go out on the field? Because nobody else was really doing that,” Carter said. “And I thought, No: I’m not going to change what I believe I should look like to fit anybody else’s standards.” 

The Olympian told The New Yorker she would love to see more diversity in body types both on and off the field. “You have to understand everyone’s body was built to do something,” she said. “I was built to do something, and that’s how I was built. I think the world is realizing we were promoting one body type and there have always been many.”

I think the world is realizing we were promoting one body type and there have always been many. Michelle Carter

Carter spreads her feminist message of looking and feeling good to younger female shot-putters. “The parents say, ‘Can you talk to my daughter and say that it’s O.K.? That she can have muscles?’ They’ll say, ‘I show her pictures of you so they can know she’s good at what she does but still looks like a girl. She wears dresses,’” Carter said. “It releases people to be whoever they want to be in the sport.”

It’s no surprise the gold medalist’s motto is “look good, feel good, do good,” as she told the AP last week. “I believe if you look your best, you’re going to feel your best, you’re going to do your best,” Carter told The New Yorker.

Way to do you, Michelle. 

Congrats Michelle! 
Quinn Rooney via Getty Images
Congrats Michelle! 

Head over to The New Yorker to read the rest of Carter’s interview. 

For more Olympics coverage:

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BEFORE YOU GO

PHOTO GALLERY
Photos Of Michelle Carter's Medal-Winning Day
CONVERSATIONS